Dennis Olsen described winning the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli drivers’ championship at Kyalami on Saturday as his greatest career achievement so far.
The 23-year-old Norwegian combined with Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet to win the IGTC season-ending Kyalami 9 Hour and added this win to his Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour success in February.
He was the only driver to win more than one IGTC race this year and finishes the season on 73 points; 11 more than closest rival Maxi Goetz.
“You see on the entry list which drivers you are racing against and it’s the best in the world,” he told Sportscar365 after being confirmed as champion on Saturday evening.
“That’s when I know it counts and why it’s also the biggest success I’ve ever had.”
Olsen’s previous successes include winning Porsche Carrera Cup Germany in 2017 and finishing runner-up in Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in the same year.
He drove a customer Porsche 911 RSR in the European Le Mans Series the next year, but burst onto the GT3 scene this year as a Porsche Young Professional driver with programs in IGTC, Blancpain GT Series, GT World Challenge America and a number of other series.
“I’ve had a few good championships,” he said.
“I won the Carrera Cup and I was second in Supercup, but at the end of the day, this is the highest level in GT3 racing.
“We started off well in Bathurst with an amazing race there. Going to the next one, Laguna, another amazing race but unfortunately we had a small technical failure which cost us a win.
“Suzuka was special as well, a strong race, we finished third. Spa was tough for us.
“Coming here with Mathieu who is a great driver as well as Nick Tandy, we were confident coming into the weekend.
“We knew we had a good car and we realized quickly in Free Practice that the car was good and we had a nice balance straight off. The whole operation just worked out perfectly.”
Olsen put Porsche and Frikadelli Racing’s success in South Africa down to the car’s versatility in mixed conditions, as one of the few packages that could run strongly in dry conditions early in the race and wet weather in the last few hours.
This was particularly important in the late-race restart, when Tandy was able to pull a gap over pursuing cars from BMW, Mercedes-AMG and the GPX Racing Porsche.
“I think we had the fastest lap time of the race so we were quick in the dry and the quickest car in the wet,” Olsen explained.
“There was no in-between [in weather conditions] but at the end of the day, I think we were the quickest in both conditions and I think that’s why we’re here today.
“We maybe didn’t expect to be so quick in the dry but during practice we really focused on the race setup to try and get this right with a full fuel tank and everything.
“It worked and we all worked as a team, we shared information. All the teams throughout Porsche were one team.”